Student artists are helping give roadsides a better image by showing how important they are to wildlife habitat, through a Roadsides Are for the Birds poster contest run by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
“The purpose of the contest is to help increase awareness of the growing importance of roadsides for wildlife, particularly for ground nesting birds,” said Carmelita Nelson, DNR prairie grassland coordinator. “As wildlife habitat continues to disappear, roadsides nesting habitat is becoming more critical.”
Roadsides can provide bird-nesting habitat if mowing and other disturbances of roadsides are delayed until after the nesting season, usually around Aug. 1.
“The quality of artwork was excellent this year,” said Nelson. “In this age of electronics, it is good to see that students are still being taught the skills of drawing and painting the natural world.” Seventh and eighth grade students from Becker, Kellogg and Wabasha were the top winners in the 30th annual contest. Nearly 80 students from 20 schools entered works in this year’s contest. Hannah Iverson-Jones and Zach Gillespie from Wabasha-Kellogg High School and Victoria Gibson from Becker Middle School were selected as first prize winners.
Special recognition awards in the contest went to:
- Victoria Gibson of Becker Middle School in Becker for biological accuracy and expression of theme.
- Karlee Freihammer of Wabasha-Kellogg High School in Wabasha for best pen/pencil work.
- Susan Hart of Parker Prairie High School in Parkers Prairie for creative use of material.
- Mariah Ruiz Mendez of Tri-City United Middle School in Le Center for humor.
- Judge’s Choice Award went to Hannah Iverson-Jones of Wabasha-Kellogg High School.
Prizes and contributions for the contest were donated by: the Wildlife Heritage Association; Minnesota Pheasants, Inc.-Steele County; Pheasants Forever; Minnesota Waterfowl Association; National Camera Exchange, Golden Valley; and the DNR Roadsides Program. Ross Frame Shop and Universal Framing, both of Minneapolis, and The Frame Gallery of New Ulm donated framing of the posters. The three first-prize winners will also have their work displayed during the 2014 Minnesota State Fair in the DNR building. Works of the top 40 prize winners will be displayed at the Minnesota Deer Classic and Sports Show at the National Sports Center in Blaine, March 6-8, 2015. Find more information on Roadsides for Wildlife online.